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Depression After a Heart Attack Dangerous for Years
Date:3/7/2008

the amount of fish people eat and depression," Carney said. "The advantage of giving them in heart disease is that they have an effect on the cardiovascular system as well."

The major finding of the study and the use of omega-3 fatty acids are already in the mainstream of research on depression and heart disease, said Dr. Alexander H. Glassman, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

"There is a torrent of information that depression in relation to vascular disease worsens the outcome," Glassman said. "If you look at post-stroke patients, you find the same data. If you look at heart failure, depression has a similar effect on mortality."

The value of the study is that it had the longest follow-up of any trial using diagnostic interviews, which are regarded as more accurate than self-reporting, Glassman said. "It makes the evidence firmer and extends the evidence," he explained.

The use of omega-3 fatty acids is "a hot issue," being tried in cardiac and non-cardiac cases, Glassman said. "It is a logical thing to do," he added.

The study and the omega-3 trial will still leave some major issues about depression and heart disease open, Glassman said.

"The two key questions that remain are: Does treating depression make the outcome better? And what is it about depression that is causing the problem in the first place?" he said.

More information

Advice on depression after a heart attack is offered by the American Academy of Family Physicians.



SOURCES: Robert M. Carney, Ph.D., professor, psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; Alexander H. Glassman, M.D., professor, psychiatry, Columbia University Medcial Center, New York City; March 2008, Journal of Affective Disor
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